The soles of my cold, barefeet hit the wood floor as I struggle to gain my balance after waking from a dream.
It's 4 a.m.
Everyone but me is asleep so I make a point to keep the lights in the bedroom off as I grab my running shoes from a pile in the corner.
I tip-toe in the almost-black of the morning out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, where I turn on my coffee pot.
As the liquid I am addicted to begins to brew, I lean against the kitchen sink and finally put my running shoes on. Once I have them to the proper tightness, my coffee is ready to consume. I grab the mug with both hands and breathe in the smell (sometimes I think the smell is better than the first sip).
I walk in that flat-footed way I have back down the hall to the front closet where I keep my favorite running top -- the one that feels like an old, perfectly worn in t-shirt and has the slits in the sleeves for my thumbs.
By the time I walk back to the kitchen, my coffee is empty, but the lights are still off.
I let the dog out. Even he is mellow in the mornings, taking advantage of the rare quiet in a house normally bustling with the noise and energy of a 3 year old boy.
I open the door to let the dog back inside. He goes back to bed, snuggling into a tight ball in the corner of his pillow.
I walk to the bottom of the driveway. Take a deep breath.
My muscles are finally awake. They know this routine. I look both ways before crossing the street.
My left arm moves back as my right foot takes the first stride.
Who knows what my miles will bring this morning. But I can never wait to find out.
I have started my day like this for more than a year now. You'd think I grow tired of it, and yet, every day the possibility of what I may see or learn on my run propels me to wake up the next day and do it again.